Monday, April 4, 2016

When In Cambodia

It took me 3 weeks to choose and fix all my photos for this exciting blog post! Good thing I now have the enough time to keep my posts up to date because I don’t work on Saturdays anymore, so yay!

My recent trip was in Siem Reap, Cambodia last March 3-6. At first, I was really hesitant to push through with this trip because I keep on asking myself, what to see in Cambodia besides Angkor Wat? What to buy there? It’s definitely not a shopping place, but since I really want to travel, I pushed through with it. I went there with my mom and her organization, The United Architects of the Philippines Quezon City Chapter. So basically, I just tagged along. hehe

When I got there, I was so surprised how rich the Cambodian culture was and my curious self really enjoyed learning about Cambodia.

DISCLAIMER: This post is full of photos. Really. It’s a very long post but don’t worry I’ll try to keep you guys entertained so you’ll finish reading this post. LOL!

Our departure from Manila to Siem Reap was at 10:30 pm; we booked a flight through Cebu Pacific. We arrived at Siem Reap Airport at midnight. Usually, it takes 2 hours going to Siem Reap but luckily we arrived early.

For your information, Siem Reap is not the capital of Cambodia the capital is Phnom Penh. Siem Reap is like a province.

We checked in at our hotel Prince D’ Angkor Resort and Spa; it’s 10-15 minutes away from the Siem Reap International Airport. The hotel was really nice. It has complete facilities such as the fitness center, salt-water pool, sauna and spa, restaurant, souvenir shops, parking and cafĂ©. The ambience of the hotel is very classy and homey. The Cambodian people were really accommodating. They’re like Filipinos physically and they also smile a lot. Feels like home, really.

Since, I want this post to be helpful to you guys in going to Cambodia, I’ll state the cost of our travel and our itinerary in detail. So our round trip ticket costs us P 7,992. While our accommodation for 4 days and 3 nights with breakfast and tour with complete meals is around P 12, 500. Not bad at all eh?

On our first day, we went temple hopping! This was the best day of our stay at Siem Reap. We visited all the temples in Siem Reap. Sounds tiring yeah? Hmm.. I have to admit, it was tiring but I had a really great time!

After breakfast, we met with our tour guide, Mr. Sophal at the hotel lobby. We have our own coaster for the whole trip.

Our first stop? The South Gate Angkor Thom or what they call the Victory Gate. The gate has 2 sides, the good and the bad side. I only took a photo of the good side, you can see the smiling faces of the statues. Unlike the bad side, they all look like demons. Some of the head of the statues went missing because according to our tour guide, Thai people who went to colonize Cambodia steal their heads and sell it in Thailand.

Beware of monkeys! They might snatch your belongings! LOL.

Inside was the Bayon Temple, our first temple for the day. Temples in Cambodia were made by Kings as a place of worship and shelter for the royal families. Bayon Temple is a Khmer Temple that lately turned into a Hindu and Buddhist temple after the death of King Jayavarman VII. The temple is known for many smiling faces in some of its structures.

If you're being observant, you can see that the rocks used to make the temple has holes in it. These holes were made to lift the huge rocks by putting a stick inside and use elephants to transport it.

Top, STYLESTUNNER MANILA | Pants, Hat and Sandals, FOREVER 21 | Bag, PARFOIS

We went to visit the Elephant Terrace and Terrace of The Leper King after by walking. We also dropped by the Phimeanakas and the Baphuon Temple.

The Victory Gate

Our next stop was the Ta Promh Temple. This is where the movie Tomb Raider was filmed. The temple is known for all the trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle like surroundings. They said that these trees protects the temple. Ta Promh Temple has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1992.

Another fact that our tour guide shared is that Angelina Jolie really loved this place since the movie Tomb Raider, so Angelina and Brad adopted a child here in Cambodia who is their eldest, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt.

We had lunch after at a local restaurant in Siem Reap. The food in Cambodia is very healthy. They have a lot of vegetables and egg. I swear, every meal we had lots of veggies and egg. They don't eat pork that much. We mostly eat seafood and chicken.

We visited the Air Balloon after. You can ride the balloon for $20 each. By the way, they accept dollar, Cambodian riel and sometimes peso. My advice is just to bring dollars.

You can see the whole Siem Reap from way up and of course the majestic Angkor Wat Temple.

My travel buddy, Mommy of course!

The tour that I've been waiting for, The Angkor Wat Tour! The structure looks amazing from this view. The reflection from the water is perfect. Our tour guide surely know where to take us so we can get great photos.

It's a long walk from the entrance to the temple itself. I warn you, its very hot in Cambodia. The heat is worse than Philippines so its best if you bring a bottle of water, a hat and a pair of sunglasses.

The temple has intricate carvings on its walls. Every carving symbolizes or interprets a certain time in Cambodian History.

The Angkor Wat Temple is a very sacred place so proper clothing must be observed. Men and Women are not allowed to wear shorts and sleeveless clothing. You could wear a sleeveless top if you have a scarf wrapped around your body.

Another best thing about travelling? Souvenir shopping! We bought printed trousers from Cambodia! They have one of a kind prints! Perfect for my occasional Bohemian phase hehe

After souvenir shopping, we went to another temple to watch the sunset. Seeing the sunset from the top of the temple (literally the top of the temple because you have to climb huge risers just to reach the top) was very relaxing after a long day of temple hopping.

We had buffet dinner after. There were so many food we don't know what to get. I wasn't able to taste every dish! 

By the way, I always start and end the day with a quick dip in the pool. Our hotel has salt water pool, feels like swimming at the beach.

Second day of tour at Siem Reap doesn't require temple hopping so we left the hotel a bit late around 10am. I still had enough time to take a quick dip at the pool!

First stop was the Tonle Sap Lake. Its a lake that extends to the sea. A lot of people live within this area. They bathe, drink and use the water of the lake for their everyday lives. 

As you go further through the lake, you'll see the floating village. 

This blue structure here is a school. They use boats to transport to every floating construction.

We got down on this restaurant. They sell freshwater fish, crocodile, snake and frog meat.
Pretty exotic huh?

They have a crocodile farm on each floating construction.

Croc skin, expensive AF

They also sell other souvenir items.

Our next stop was the cultural village. They had mock up constructions of different landmarks in Cambodia, a wax museum, a historical museum, and different cultural shows which were very entertaining by the way.

off the shoulder romper, BAZAAR | gold slip ons, FOREVER 21 | bag, PARFOIS | hat, BOUGHT IN CAMBODIA | sunglasses, SUNNIES BY CHARLIE

Our first stop at the cultural village was the wax museum. They featured different historical people and traditions that are famous in Cambodia.

After visiting the museum, we went around the cultural village to see replicas of famous landmarks in Cambodia. This is one, the Smiling Buddha. 

We also watched the cultural show. I was amazed how flexible these performers were.

On our last day, again I started it with an hour swimming at the pool. It feels so refreshing swimming before doing anything else. Especially Cambodia has a really hot weather.


And of course, the facade of our hotel, The Prince D' Angkor. I recommend this hotel to you guys, they have friendly staff, complete amenities, and the rooms are very spacious and cozy.

We had a buffet lunch scheduled for us on our last day at Tonle Chaktomuk Restaurant. Food in Cambodia is very healthy. They have a lot of vegetables and seafood.

top, bottom, FOREVER 21 | bag, PARFOIS | sunnies, SUNNIES BY CHARLIE | watch, MICHAEL KORS

We still have one day left for our tour so after lunch we went to the killing fields or Wat Thmey. This is where Cambodians from way way back were killed by people who wants to invade Cambodia.

We went to Park Hyatt after to tour the hotel and relax. The hotel has really nice landscaping and facilities.

My favourite part is this tree in the middle of the pond, it makes the place look cool and relaxing despite the humid weather.

Check out this very modern designed swimming pool.

After the Park Hyatt hotel, we went to Les Artisan D'Angkor. Talented Cambodian sculptors and artists are here. They create quality wood and stone carvings that's available for export.

Our tour ended early so the team decided to go back to Park Hyatt hotel for some desserts and cocktails while watching the Apsara show. Our flight is at 10pm so we still have enough time.

The thing I love the most about travelling is learning a lot of things about another country's culture, history and people. I believe that knowledge is power. It really pays if you know a lot of things that you just didn't got out of a book, its good learn from something that you've really experienced. Cambodia is very rich is history and culture. Its good that they've kept this really strong in today's time. I recommend going to Cambodia if you're up for some temple hunting and relaxation.

Drop a comment below if you have questions about my travel to Cambodia, I'd be happy to help!


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